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1.  Main characteristics and participation rate of European adolescents included in the HELENA study 
Archives of Public Health  2012;70(1):14.
Background
Participation rate and response rate are key issues in a cross sectional large-scale epidemiological study. The objective of this paper is to describe the study population and to evaluate participation and response rate as well as the key nutritional status variables in male and female adolescents involved in the HELENA study.
Methods
A multi-stage random cluster sampling with a target sample of 3000 adolescents aged [12.5 to 17.5] years, stratified for geographical location and age, was carried out. Information for participants and non-participants (NP) was compared, and participation and response rates to specific questionnaires were discussed.
Results
3,865 adolescents aged [12.5 to 17.5] years (1,845 females) participated in the HELENA study, of whom 1,076 (568 females) participated in the blood sampling. 3,528 (1,845 females) adolescents were finally kept for statistical analysis. Participation rates for the schools and classes differed importantly between countries. The participation rate of pupils within the participating classes also differed importantly between countries. Sex ratio, mean age and BMI were similar between NP and participating adolescents within each centre, and in the overall sample. For all the questionnaires included in the database, the response rate of questionnaires was high (more than 80% of questions were completed).
Conclusion
From this study it could be concluded that participation rate differed importantly between countries, though no bias could be identified when comparing the key study variables between participants and non-participants. Response rate for questionnaires was very high. Future studies investigating lifestyle and health in adolescents can optimize their methods when considering the opportunities and barriers observed in the HELENA study.
doi:10.1186/0778-7367-70-14
PMCID: PMC3490738  PMID: 22958310
2.  Dietary exposure assessments for children in europe (the EXPOCHI project): rationale, methods and design 
Background/purpose
The number of dietary exposure assessment studies focussing on children is very limited. Children are however a vulnerable group due to their higher food consumption level per kg body weight. Therefore, the EXPOCHI project aims [1] to create a relational network of individual food consumption databases in children, covering different geographical areas within Europe, and [2] to use these data to assess the usual intake of lead, chromium, selenium and food colours.
Methods
EXPOCHI includes 14 food consumption databases focussed on children (1-14 y old). The data are considered representative at national/regional level: 14 regions covering 13 countries. Since the aim of the study is to perform long-term exposure assessments, only data derived from 24 hr dietary recalls and dietary records recorded on at least two non-consecutive days per individual were included in the dietary exposure assessments. To link consumption data and concentration data of lead, chromium and selenium in a standardised way, categorisation of the food consumption data was based on the food categorisation system described within the SCOOP Task report 3.2.11. For food colours, the food categorisation system specified in the Council Directive 94/36/EC was used.
Conclusion
The EXPOCHI project includes a pan-European long-term exposure assessment of lead, chromium, selenium and food colours among children living in 13 different EU countries. However, the different study methods and designs used to collect the data in the different countries necessitate an in-depth description of these different methods and a discussion about the resulting limitations.
doi:10.1186/0778-7367-69-4
PMCID: PMC3436650  PMID: 22958503
Food; dietary exposure assessment; children; Europe; design; concentration data; health risk; consumption data; lead; chromium; selenium; food colours

Results 1-2 (2)